11 responses

  1. avatar
    Wednesday, May 8, 2013

    Not only one of the most brilliant and piercing critiques I’ve read of the Middle Way policy and Tibetan exile and Chinese community’s reaction to it but also one of the best analyses and critiques of Said’s ‘Orientalism’ and the ideological uses that have been made of it. Wish I had written this, with people like Prof. Elliot Sperling around faith is restored in humanity, truth, justice and freedom of speech. Thank you.

  2. avatar
    Friday, May 10, 2013

    Unbelievable. Tibet needs good, sound ideas for affecting change on the ground and we get a hyper-analytical treatise on Trotsky and Orientalism.

    No one should question the scholarship involved in producing such an opinion piece, (“idealism (as)…the hallmark of the Tibetan struggle” is most definitely an opinion. Where’s self-determination in all this?)but do we really need such an effort during these times of desperation and immolation?

    It’s not that I doubt the premise of Mr. Sperling’s arguments so much as I’m, beginning to doubt the premise of Mr. Sperling himself. One gets a real sense that his primary objective is to be viewed as America’s top Tibet scholar.

    For God’s sake, sir, put down the Trotsky and pick up a shovel. Does your obviously boundless energy and intellect ever translate to practical, real-time programs that assist Tibetans in the field; or are you content to throw darts at the issue from the safety of academia? Words matter, but ideas and programs matter more, these days, where are yours?

    Pro-active and compassionate people can resolve the Tibetan struggle for the good of all, I am convinced of that. But this must start from the ground. I will be in Kathmandu this September with a group of dedicated individuals beginning a new series of programs to accomplish that very thing. I would challenge Mr. Sperling to attend.

    When Tibet is free, I will be the first to nominate Mr. Sperling as official historian to the Kashag. In the meantime Mr. Sperling, either do something more useful or get out of the way.

    James Rinaldi

  3. avatar
    Hungry Ghost
    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    @JRinaldi: “Pro-active and compassionate people can resolve the Tibetan struggle for the good of all, I am convinced of that. But this must start from the ground. I will be in Kathmandu this September with a group of dedicated individuals beginning a new series of programs to accomplish that very thing.”

    Sounds rather grand. How exactly will you achieve a resolution to the Tibetan struggle in September? Do tell.

    • avatar
      Wednesday, May 22, 2013

      One Tibetan at a Time.

  4. avatar
    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    Actually, your imperious cynicism makes sense if you are a Westerner; if you are a Tibetan, it breaks my heart.

    You want Rangzen? Then it must come from your own initiatives. Stop relying on Western government assistance to save Tibet. How well has that worked over the last 25 years? The next Tibetan that self-immolates should give you your answer.

    I’m not talking about taking up violence either. There exists pragmatic, immediate and beneficial programs and techniques that help Tibetans where they are most vulnerable. Today. Now.

    These types of programs and others will make up the bulk of our planning in Kathmandu this September. If you can do something other than blog and tweet, please come. Bring Jamyang Lodoe, Pema Bum and anyone else who remembers that activism is “active.”

    • avatar
      Hungry Ghost
      Thursday, May 23, 2013

      For excellence in “imperious cynicism” look no further than yourself and your comments against a very talented and passionate Tibetan supporter and friend of Tibetans.

      • avatar
        Thursday, May 23, 2013

        Talented and passionate supporters of Tibet have existed for decades.

        While you’re patting yourself on the back, remember that the next Tibetan that self-immolates should tell you how far all that talent and passion has taken us.

        If we’re not using our talent and passion for programs that help Tibetans, on the ground where they are the most vulnerable, today, then all the talent and passion in the world is worthless.

        We need workers and we need them now.

      • avatar
        Hungry Ghost
        Friday, May 24, 2013

        I was referring to Elliot’s talent and passion, not to mine.

        Sorry, I’ll skip Kathmandu given that your recruitment methods are based on denigrating the efforts of others and that you are also not exactly providing any details about your superlative-laden programs.

        Good luck.

      • avatar
        Friday, May 24, 2013

        Read carefully, my criticism of Sperling is not denigrating, it is meant as refocusing slap.

        Criticism of the “Free Tibet” movement is what we need right now. Let it out. We need to have a long and passionate argument about what went wrong over the last 25 years.

        Writing long hyper-scholarly articles accomplishes nothing. Making “friends” on Facebook or “followers” on Twitter accomplishes even less. We don’t need any more moral support and we don’t need another benefit concert. And we certainly don’t need to “raise awareness” of the Tibetan issue any longer. We need action.

        So, yes, let’s criticize, call-out, point fingers and have an argument. Let this argument lead to a discussion on how to proceed next; and let that lead to the type of actions we can realistically control–helping one Tibetan at a time where they are the most vulnerable.

        Bho Rangzen comes from the ground up, so let’s shut up and get busy.

  5. avatar
    Thursday, Jun 20, 2013


    My apologies but I think you are subscribing to a false dichotomy. One can do both or even different people can contribute in different ways. If everyone grew crops, who will build bridges and frame policies?

    In fact, both you and Elliot deserve our gratitude. You are helping us in your own ways.

    • avatar
      Saturday, Jul 6, 2013

      Yes, you have a point.

      I would respectfully argue that we need to define “contribute” in these troubled times.

      Should we be growing crops and building bridges while a great storm is descending upon us?

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